May 25th, 2010, 6:47 am · posted by Mary Ann Milbourn
Temporary employment, which is often a harbinger for the overall job market, jumped by 800 jobs in April, suggesting Orange County employers are continuing to bring on new staff.
Local employers have added to temporary staffing every month since January, when temp work bottomed locally at 38,800.
As of April, employers had 40,900 workers on staff, according to the state Employment Development Department.
That’s a big improvement but is still way off the peak in September 2006 when Orange County had 65,800 temporary workers.
Nationally, the American Staff Association reported that temp employment was up in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. It was the first improvement after nine consecutive quarters of decline.
The association said an average 2 million temporary and contract workers were on the job each day from January to March, an 0.8% increase over 2009. During the same period last year, temp work plummeted 27.9% compared to employment in the first quarter of 2008.
“Staffing employment started to grow last July as the economy began to recover from the recession,” says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “But the staffing industry took such a massive blow early last year — demand dropped 30% — that it has taken months of improving conditions to show up in year-to-year comparables. Over the past several months, the staffing industry has been creating more private sector jobs than any other industry in the U.S. We are optimistic that America’s staffing companies will continue to show robust job growth in the second half of this year.”
The increase in temp hiring bodes well for the future. Employment experts say employers typically will convert temp jobs to full-time work about six months after an initial hire.